By Clark Collis
July 26, 2020 at 10:15 AM EDT
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Everett Collection

Beloved character actor John Saxon has died at the age of 83.

Saxon passed away on Saturday from pneumonia in Murfreesboro, Tenn., his wife, Gloria, told The Hollywood Reporter. The actor was famous for appearing opposite Bruce Lee and Jim Kelly in the classic 1972 martial arts film Enter the Dragon. Saxon subsequently became well known to horror fans for his appearances in the original Black Christmas (1974), Dario Argento's Tenebrae (1982), and Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), in which he played the cop father of Heather Langenkamp's character Nancy.

The actor's many other film credits included 1966's The Apaloosa — for which Saxon won a Golden Globe —  the Clint Eastwood-starring Joe Kidd (1972), The Electric Horseman (1979), Battle Beyond the Stars, (1980), Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994), and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). He also appeared on the TV shows The Six Million Dollar Man, Starsky and Hutch, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, The A-Team, and Melrose Place.

Those who have paid tribute to Saxon include directors Joe Dante and Peyton Reed, Masters of Horror executive producer Mick Garris, Ed Wood co-screenwriter Larry Karaszewski, novelist Don Winslow, and actress Barbara Crampton.

"RIP John Saxon," Gremlins filmmaker Dante wrote on Twitter. "I had the privilege of working with him once in 2006. Very good actor, very nice guy."

"I always loved seeing John Saxon in a movie or TV show," wrote Reed. "His first impression on me was a strong one: playing Steve Austin’s old pal Major Frederick Sloan AND the robot that replaces him in the 'Day of the Robot' episode of The Six Million Dollar Man. So good."

"John Saxon will be so greatly missed by genre fans around the world," wrote Garris. "He was such a kind and talented man when we were lucky enough to have him onboard for Dario Argento's Masters of Horror film, 'Pelts.'"

"I had the good fortune to host John Saxon at the American Cinematheque — screening his Bruce Lee epic Enter the Dragon and the Marlon Brando western The Appaloosa, for which Saxon earned a Golden Globe nomination," wrote Larry Karaszewski. "He was a great guy full of stories."

"I always said, if I had to do a secret mission and I could only bring a couple of guys, I'd want two of them to be Bruce Lee and John Saxon!" wrote Winslow.

"He had strength and charm, which was a great combination," wrote Crampton. "His strong presence allowed him, with ease to command every role he portrayed. Black Christmas, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Tenebrae, and countless more...Rip the great John Saxon."

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